Arnold’s MLPA Officials to Hold Public Meeting in Shelter Cove
Article and photo by Dan Bacher©
Article and photo by Dan Bacher©
SHELTER COVE, Calif. -- Faced with massive opposition by Indian Tribes, fishermen and environmentalists, officials from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s fast-track Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative will hold a “public information session” about the effort to create so-called Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) along California’s northern coastline.
The meeting will be held on Sunday, Aug. 29, from 3 to 4 p.m., at the Shelter Cove Fire Station Meeting Hall, 9126 Shelter Cove Road in Shelter Cove, California.
“Adopted into California state law in 1999, the MLPA requires all existing state marine protected areas to be reevaluated, and a statewide system to be created to protect marine life, habitat and ecosystems,” according to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG). “The MLPA Initiative is currently in the planning stages for the north coast study region, which includes state waters from the California-Oregon border to Alder Creek near Point Arena.”
“Staffed by members of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, the meeting will provide interested members of the public with information about the scope and process of the effort,” the release stated. “Questions and public input are welcome.”
I have challenged MLPA proponents to answer the following questions that cut to the core of the current MLPA process - and I encourage attendees to challenge MLPA officials with these questions. None have responded yet to my specific questions, but only continue to repeat their unsubstantiated claims that the Initiative is “open, transparent and inclusive” and that anybody who criticizes the initiative is an opponent of “ocean protection.”
Here are the questions:
Why did the Governor and MLPA officials install an oil industry lobbyist, a marina developer, a real estate executive and other corporate interests as “marine guardians” to remove Indian Tribes, fishermen and seaweed harvesters from the water by creating so-called "marine protected areas" (MPAS)? Isn’t this very bad
Why is Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the president of the Western States Petroleum Association, allowed to make decisions as the chair of the BRTF for the South Coast and as a member of the BRTF for the North Coast, panels that are supposedly designed to “protect” the ocean, when she has called for new oil drilling off the California coast? Do we want to see oil rigs off Point Arena, Fort Bragg and other areas of some of the most beautiful coastline of North America?
Why is a private corporation, the shadowy Resources Legacy Fund Foundation, being allowed to privatize ocean resource management in California through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the DFG?
Why do the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force (BRTF) and Science Advisory Team continue to violate the California Public Records Act by refusing to respond to numerous requests by Bob Fletcher, former DFG Deputy Director, for key documents and records pertaining to the MLPA implementation process?
Why do MLPA staff and the California Fish and Game Commission refuse to hear the pleas of the representatives of the California Fish and Game Wardens Association, who oppose the creation of any new MPAs until they have enough funding for wardens to patrol existing reserves?
Why did MLPA staff until recently violate the Bagley-Keene Act and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by banning video and audio coverage of the initiative’s work sessions?
Why has the Initiative shown no respect for tribal subsistence and ceremonial rights?
This is an overt violation of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Article 32, Section 2, of the Declaration mandates “free prior and informed consent” in consultation with the indigenous population affected by a state action (http://www.iwgia.org/sw248.asp).
The MLPA also violates Article 26, Section 3, that declares, “States shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands, territories and resources. Such recognition shall be conducted with due respect to the customs, traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned.”
Why are there no Tribal scientists on the MLPA Science Advisory Team and why were there no Tribal representatives on the Blue Ribbon Task Forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast or South Coast MLPA Study Regions?
Why does the initiative discard the results of any scientists who disagree with the MLPA’s pre-ordained conclusions? These include the peer reviewed study by Dr. Ray Hilbert, Dr. Boris Worm and 18 other scientists, featured in Science magazine in July 2009, that concluded that the California current had the lowest rate of fishery exploitation of any place studied on the planet.
Why does the MLPA Initiative refuse to acknowledge California Indian Tribes as sovereign nations?
Finally, why did 300 Tribal members, fishermen, immigrant workers and environmentalists on July 21 feel so left out of the MLPA process that they had to organize a march and direct action to take over a MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force meeting so their voices would be finally heard?
I urge you to sign a petition to support Assemblymen Wesley Chesbro’s call for a six-month delay in the North Coast MLPA process at: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/saveoceanacsess/
Second, please sign this petition to the State of California to acknowledge and include Tribal traditional uses within state regulations for marine protected areas of the MLPA nitiative. Go to the Inter-Tribal Water Commission of California website: http://www.itwatercommission.org/. There is a link at the bottom of the posting that goes to: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/protect-traditional-lifeways-in-the-marine-life-protection-act/ For more information about the MLPA, visit http://www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa.